Major Mining Sites of Wallonia

Major Mining Sites of Wallonia

The four sites of the property form a strip 170 km long by 3–15 km wide, crossing Belgium from east to west, consisting of the best-preserved 19th- and 20th-century coal-mining sites of the country. It features examples of the utopian architecture from the early periods of the industrial era in Europe within a highly integrated, industrial and urban ensemble, notably the Grand-Hornu colliery and workers’ city designed by Bruno Renard in the first half of the 19th century. Bois-du-Luc includes numerous buildings erected from 1838 to 1909 and one of Europe’s oldest collieries dating back to the late 17th century. While Wallonia had hundreds of collieries, most have lost their infrastructure, while the four components of the listed site retain a high measure of integrity.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Sites miniers majeurs de Wallonie

Les quatre sites de ce bien s’étendent sur une bande de 170 km de long et de 3 à 15 km de large, qui traverse la Belgique d’ouest en est. Il s’agit des sites les mieux conservés de l’exploitation charbonnière qui s’est étalée du début du XIXe siècle à la seconde moitié du XXe siècle. Le bien fournit des exemples de l’architecture utopique des débuts de l’ère industrielle européenne, dans le cadre d’un ensemble industriel et urbain architectural hautement intégré, notamment le charbonnage et la cité ouvrière du Grand-Hornu, dessinée par l’architecte Bruno Renard dans la première moitié du XIXe siècle. Bois-du-Luc comporte de nombreux bâtiments érigés de 1838 à 1909 et un charbonnage qui est l’un des plus anciens d’Europe car il remonte à la fin du XVIIe siècle. Bien que la Wallonie compte des centaines de charbonnages, la plupart ont perdu leurs infrastructures alors que l’intégrité des quatre composantes de ce site est restée élevée.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Sitios mineros importantes de Valonia

Las cuatro minas que integran este sitio cultural se extienden desde el este hasta el oeste de Bélgica, a lo largo de una franja de terreno de 170 kilómetros de largo y de 3 a 15 kilómetros de ancho. El sitio lo forman las zonas de minería del carbón mejor conservadas de todo el país, que se explotaron principalmente desde principios del siglo XIX hasta la segunda mitad del siglo XX. En este sitio se hallan muestras tempranas de la arquitectura utópica de los inicios de la primera Revolución Industrial europea, que forman conjuntos urbano-industriales sumamente integrados. El ejemplo más notable lo proporcionan la mina y la ciudad obrera del Grand-Hornu, planeadas en la primera mitad del siglo XIX por el arquitecto Bruno Renard. En Bois-du-Luc se hallan numerosos edificios construidos en el periodo 1838-1909, así como una de las minas de carbón más antiguas de todo el continente europeo, cuya explotación se inició a finales del siglo XVII. A pesar de que Valonia contó con centenares de minas de carbón en el pasado, la mayoría de sus infraestructuras han desaparecido hoy en día. Sin embargo, las cuatro minas que componen este sitio del Patrimonio Mundial han conservado su integridad en muy gran medida.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0


source: NFUAJ

Grote Mijnbouwsites van Wallonië

De vier mijnbouwsites behorend bij dit Werelderfgoed vormen van een strook van 170 km lang en 3 tot 15 km breed. Ze bestaan uit de best geconserveerde 19e en 20ste eeuwse kolenmijnen van België. Er zijn voorbeelden van utopische architectuur uit de vroege periodes van het Europese industriële tijdperk, zoals de steenkoolmijn van Grand-Hornu en haar ‘arbeidersstad’, ontworpen door Bruno Renard in de eerste helft van de 19e eeuw. Bois-du-Luc omvat diverse gebouwen uit de 19e eeuw en een van Europa's oudste kolenmijnen uit het einde van de 17e eeuw. Wallonië kende in het verleden honderden steenkoolmijnen, maar van de meeste is de infrastructuur verdwenen. Van deze vier mijnbouwsites is de integriteit nog grotendeels intact.


  • English
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Japanese
  • Dutch
Blegny, Major Mining Sites of Wallonia (Belgium) © SPW-Département du Patrimoine, Belgique
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The Grand-Hornu, Bois-du-Luc, Bois du Cazier and Blegny-Mine sites represent the best preserved places of coal mining in Belgium, from the early 19th to the second half of the 20th centuries. The Walloon Coal Basin is one of the oldest, and most emblematic of the industrial revolution, on the European continent. The four sites include numerous technical and industrial remains, relating to both the surface and the underground coal mining industry, the industrial architecture associated with the mines, worker housing, mining town urban planning and the social and human values associated with their history, in particular the memory of the Bois du Cazier disaster (1956).

Criterion (ii): Among the earliest and largest in Europe, the four Walloon coalmines are testimony to the early dissemination of the technical, social and urban innovations of the industrial revolution. They then played a major exemplary role on the technical and social levels through to recent times. Finally, they are one of the most important sites of interculturalism arising out of mass industry through the participation of workers from other regions of Belgium, Europe and later Africa.

Criterion (iv): The ensemble of the four Walloon mining sites provides an eminent and complete example of the world of industrial mining in continental Europe, at various stages of the industrial revolution. It bears significant testimony to its industrial and technological components, its urban and architectural choices, and its social values, especially following the Bois-du-Cazier disaster (1956).


The series’ components have been selected for the quality, diversity and wealth of the testimonies they provide. Each expresses an original and complementary dimension of the serial property’s overall value, and each has the necessary components demonstrating sufficient integrity for an intelligible expression of this overall value.


The authenticity of the individual components of the serial property varies somewhat depending on the component considered and depending on all the property’s sites, but it achieves a satisfactory level overall. The programmes announced for the renovation of certain components, such as the Grand-Hornu workers’ city, should favourably restore the conditions of authenticity for this property. Nonetheless, an overarching conservation plan would be welcomed to ensure the authenticity of this serial property is lastingly maintained.

Protection and management requirements

Overall, the protection measures for the sites are adequate. Guarantees have been provided for the sound management of the urban and rural buffer zones through local town planning or sector plans, implementing the general provisions of the Development Code for the environment of the listed monuments and sites.

Starting from the addition of sites with separate management and conservation systems, the serial property has recently acquired a permanent overarching body that is operating effectively: the overarching Coordination Group. The scientific capacities of this group must be strengthened and the programmes and actions coordinated to achieve a level of management and conservation compliant with that of a property with recognised Outstanding Universal Value.